George N. M.

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About George N. M.

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    Senior Member

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  • Location
    NE Colorado
  • Interests
    Blacksmthing, camping, hiking, historical reenactment

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  1. I've had some good good success using very fine grained sand as a flux. It does melt at a higher temperature than borax but is a bit more viscous once it has melted. My only problem is that the outcrop of sandstone that it was weathering out from when I gathered it years ago now has a Jiffy Lube built on top of it. I may have to walk the outcrop ridge to see if I can find another location. I think most beach sand or sand from the big box store for sand boxes would be too coarse. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  2. Dear Sargent First Class Snuffy, A classic blacksmith quote: "Yes, I know I'm on fire, just let me finish this weld." "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  3. A few years ago I was in Metairie Cemetery in New Orleans, LA and came across this monument. An interesting an sculptural use of an anvil shaped object. My hat is for scale on the 4th photo. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  4. Thomas: Your comment about getting an anvil hot enough to boil tea water reminds me of an old saw that if your anvil is cool enough for you to sit on/lean against when you eat lunch you haven't been working hard enough through the morning. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  5. I was driving on the eastern edge of Cheyenne, Wyoming and spotted this. It appears to be in the yard of a shop. There are no signs and there are a few other sculpture type objects scattered around. No one appeared to be around. I took one photo and then realized it was moving. It is weather vane! It may be a comment on Wyoming's winds that you would think of an anvil as a weather vane. I would estimate the size as about 5 feet from base to table and about 10-12 feet from horn to heel. It appears to be made of heavy sheet metal or plate and even hollow it must weigh at least several hundred pounds. Has anyone ever seen a larger anvil shaped object? I measured it on Google Earth and it showed it to be about 16 feet long. I may have underestimated the size.
  6. Rojaws, The 2 qualities an anvil or any other "hitter against." has to have are: A. hard enough that it won't dent when you hit it (that's why here in the US Harbor Freight 45# cast iron anvils are a waste of money, they dent up quickly) and B. heavy enough that it will not move around when you hit it and waste energy. I have always heard that about 100 pounds is the minimum for most blacksmithing. That said you can compensate for a lighter anvil by mounting it on a heavier stand. A 50# anvil on a 150# base should work very well. Thomas makes a point about per capita anvils in the US 100+ years ago but also most homesteaders and farmers had an anvil and forge to do small repair work and avoid having to take a day or so to go to the blacksmith in town. A small blacksmithing set up was as common as gas or arc welders are today on farms. A turn of the 20th century Sears or Montgomery Ward catalog had complete blacksmithing set ups (forge, anvil, tongs, hammers, files, vice, etc.) for what today strikes us as extremely cheap but which, at the time, was a significant investment. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  7. Many of the towns and cities which were founded or expanded in the late 19th century often have streets named after Civil War generals or other prominent politicians of the day such as Grant, Sherman, and Lincoln. Also, Presidents who were assassinated get streets named after them, e.g. Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy. Sometimes local pioneers figure prominently. Since the mid-20th century developers have named streets either to promote sales or after themselves or their family. I think there is a list where they choose one name from each column. It may look like something like this: A B C Lake View Street Mountain Vista Drive Glen Meadow Lane Meadow Shadow Circle Woods Grove Path Dell Glen Avenue River Woods Boulevard I happen to live on Mountain Shadow Lane in a development which was established in the 60s and 70s. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  8. Frosty, Your comments about fun in work reminds me of my father who could never understand why I wanted to leave Chicago because that was where the biggest paychecks were. He could never understand that there was more in Wyoming that I wanted besides a paycheck. I have been very fortunate in that I have always had jobs that I enjoyed doing in places I enjoyed living. My days have ranged from OK to pretty darned good. Unfortunately, many people are in jobs where their days range from pretty crappy to OK. If OK is as good as it ever gets IMO it's time to be looking elsewhere. I think that fun and enjoyment in your work is a major factor in choosing what you will be doing. Yes, it has to support you economically but that is only the base line to which you add the other factors. Life is too short to spend it doing something which you do not enjoy or is at least tolerable. That said, there are lots of things that people enjoy which will not support them. My son would love a job which paid him to play video games but that is pretty unrealistic. Fortunately, he has found a college major (aviation) which he has found to be his passion and love (after video games). It looks like he will never work a day in his life because he will enjoy "going to the office" every day. I do agree with you that once you have to support yourself with something like blacksmithing and it takes on the responsibility of a job and that pressure can easily take out the enjoyment which was there as a hobby which did not have to pay for itself plus supporting you. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  9. Rockstar, The butte/mesa analogy may have resonated for me or Thomas because of our geology backgrounds (also because we live in butte and mesa country). Maybe not so much for ordinary folks but who knows. Much of what you have said on this and other threads is a good example of how business requires a whole different toolbox of skills than any craft or profession no matter on what scale a person is operating. We have all seen people who are good at their profession or craft but who are really bad at and have no training in business skills. People like that, when they strike out on their own often go back to working for a wage or salary because they do not like and are not good at what it takes to run a business. They are happy doing their craft or profession and not as happy having to do all the business stuff. Some of it is training and experience but often it is personality. The stereotype of a creative person who can create wonderful and beautiful objects but is not very good at dealing with the more worldly aspects of life has a basis in fact. It is not always true but to a greater or lesser extent can often be recognized. I've known brilliant attorneys who are great in a courtroom but if it were raining soup they would go outside with a fork. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  10. Dear Rockstar, To take your buttes and mesas analogy a bit further and to introduce some active geomorphology, the outside economic forces may be analogized to erosion by wind or water. Sometimes you are on a butte (think of being in a soft shale bad lands) and a big gully washer thunderstorm washes your butte away under your feet and you are back down in the valley and have to climb another butte or mesa to escape the mud and flood waters. That is what happened to me in the early 80s when the bottom fell out of my career as a geologist. I didn't want to go to work for Burger King or 7-11. So, I went to law school which provided a career which has supported my family and I since. It was during that transition that I supported myself as a black smith. I didn't make much more than unemployment would have paid but it felt better. There are lots more land forms which you could work into your analogy such as a hogback ridge, usually steep on one side and more gently sloping on the other (the Devil's Backbone near Loveland is an extreme example, less extreme are the hogback ridges between Loveland and the mouth of Big Thompson Canyon) or a questa, similar to a hogback but with a more gentle slope on one side. Also, a closed basin from which water cannot drain away and it is uphill in all directions may have an economic/business analog. George (A recovering geologist*) "By hammer and hand all arts do stand." * Geology is something from which you never completely recover from or are completely cured. The first step to partial recovery is to admit you have a problem ("My name is George and I'm a geologist. I've gone 27 days without hitting a rock with a hammer or making a map." [cheers].
  11. I'll just mention this in case someone isn't aware of it but all US pennies minted since 1982 (with the exception of some collector strikes) are zinc with a thin copper plating (97.5% Zn, 2.5% Cu by weight). If you are going to use a coupe of pennies to get a copper melt started you'll have to go through you penny jar or change drawer to find a couple that are more than 37 years old. BTW, even prior to 1982 pennies had 5% zinc in them but that probably would not make any difference for this usage. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  12. There are some people who can happily get "into the zone" for an extended period and turn out lots of the same item. It only happens to me very occasionally. When it happens it is almost what I imagine a Zen state is like. Jason is going to have to decide what works best for him both economically and personality-wise. It has been my experience that it is rare in a craft/art area for someone to find a model that fits a person's personality type and art/craft and will support them and their family economically. That is why so many of us have a day job. Also, if there is the added pressure of having to make enough dollars, pounds, euros, or yen to pay the rent/mortgage and put food on the table and pay for the kiddos braces the art/craft stops being fun and has all the responsibility and weight of a job. It is an unfortunate reality and a hard truth. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  13. That said, 18th century Scottish flint lock pistols were made with all metal stocks. "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  14. I'm curious about the grooves on the horn and sides. It seems too large to be any sort of weathering of wrought iron but maybe cast iron might weather differently in the English climate. Also, it doesn't look like the grooves from a cutting torch that I have seen on some poor ASOs ("Anvil Shaped Objects," things that were once functional anvils but are now too damaged to use.) "By hammer and hand all arts do stand."
  15. The dating of tektites from fossils in the Hell Creek Formation in ND date the Chixilub impact to 65.76 million years BP.